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AFL 2024: St Kilda’s Jimmy Webster ‘very remorseful’ after sickening bump

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St Kilda says it will “respectfully accept” the outcome of Jimmy Webster’s AFL tribunal hearing amid calls for the Saints defender to cop a hefty fine as well as a suspension.

Webster will be sent straight to the tribunal for the sickening hit that concussed North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin on Sunday and is set to receive a ban longer than the four-week suspension issued to Port Adelaide’s Sam Powell-Pepper last week.

Saints coach Ross Lyon said there was “no defence” for Webster’s action, but said he was “very remorseful” as he expressed concern for Simpkin’s wellbeing.

“It’s just a very difficult situation. (I’m) really concerned for both lads, in particular Jy because it was very heavy physical contact,” Lyon said.

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“Jimmy’s remorseful. Clearly there’s no defence to it. We always support the person (to) change the behaviour.

Jimmy Webster (St Kilda’s No. 29) was airborne as he made high contact with Jy Simpkin. Channel 9
Camera IconJimmy Webster (St Kilda’s No. 29) was airborne as he made high contact with Jy Simpkin. Channel 9 Credit: Supplied

“We’ve got to continue to evolve the game, but we’re devastated for both boys involved and there’s not much, obviously, I can do about it.”

St Kilda football boss David Misson said the incident was “out of character” for Webster but the bump had “no place” in the game, before saying the Saints would not challenge the tribunal’s verdict.

“Our thoughts are with Jy Simpkin and his family, and we hope to see him return to play soon,” Misson said.

“While it was out of character for Jimmy – who has proven to be a fair and honest player throughout his 10-plus year career – that does not excuse the action, which has no place in our game.

“Our focus now is to support Jimmy through the process, and we will respectfully accept the outcome of the tribunal.”

Webster said he “deeply regretted” his actions in a statement released Monday afternoon.

“I’ve reached out to Jy and cannot understate my remorse. My thoughts are with Jy and his family, and I hope he has a speedy and successful recovery,’ Webster said.

“I fully recognise the importance of protecting players’ heads and in this instance, I failed to meet that much-needed standard.

“I will present to the tribunal and understand there will be consequences for my actions.”

Hawthorn premiership great Jordan Lewis called for Webster to be fined as much as $30,000 in addition to an eight-week suspension to deter against actions towards a player which could “potentially end their career”.

“Six to eight weeks would sit comfortably with me. It’s certainly not four,” Lewis told RSN on Monday.

“If you want to take a piece of vision and go around to the AFL clubs and say this is what we don’t want to see, then tick, tick, tick.

“The player gets taken out of what they love doing, which is playing, I’m then throwing on a $30,000 fine as well, Maybe suspension isn’t enough. Maybe for some reason, it’s not computing, so I’m going to throw in a fine as well.”

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he was telling his players there was “no need to bump” as the league cracks down on head-high contact.

Goodwin did not want to comment on Webster’s bump but said he had made it clear to players they should avoid the action at all costs.

“It’s pretty clear – don’t do it … we’ll train our players around the contest. I’ve said this for a long time, there’s really no need to bump,” he said on Monday.

“I’m not sure when you actually need to bump, other than when it’s in a one-on-one ground-ball contest.

“It’s more about tackling and doing that correctly, and making sure we’re able to turn at the right time to tackle the right way.

“We’ll keep training our players that way and educating them. We’ve already seen that if you’re going to choose to head down that path you’re going to get in trouble.”

Originally published as AFL 2024: St Kilda’s Jimmy Webster ‘very remorseful’ after sickening bump

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